6 Atlanta Falcons Players Most Positively Affected By 2023 Free Agency Signings
QB Desmond Ridder
- Re-signing RT Kaleb McGary and FB Keith Smith
- Signing WR Mack Hollins and WR Scotty Miller
- Trading for TE Jonnu Smith
- Getting TE Kyle Pitts back healthy
The Atlanta Falcons are all-in on Desmond Ridder for the 2023 season. By giving him the first-team quarterback snaps with all of the top targets on the team, they are showing an investment into his improvement. On top of that, bringing back Kaleb McGary and Keith Smith as pass blockers says they want to protect him. They also brought in Mack Hollins, Scotty Miller, and Jonnu Smith to get more talent in targets for him to throw to. That's something that should continue with the draft, as they should look to bring in some wide receivers in the mid romid-roundsunds for him as well.
The biggest thing that should help Ridder is getting Kyle Pitts back and healthy. Pitts had over 1,000 yards in his rookie season and has the kind of frame that Ridder loves to throw to at 6-foot-6, 245 pounds. The Falcons were missing him during the first four starts of Ridder's career, and it really hurt Ridder's production. Take a look at what Ridder did in those starts by target:
This isn't exactly a murderer's row of targets for the young quarterback. Assuming Pitts would replace Pruitt on this list, that's one massive upgrade. Having Jonnu Smith upgrade over Anthony Firsker is another massive upgrade. Factor in Miller replacing Damiere Byrd and Hollins upgrading over KhaDarel Hodge and this list looks very different moving into the 2023 season. The Falcons massively upgraded the room to help out Ridder this year.
Considering Ridder was very solid in his first four starts and improved every week, giving him the whole offseason, bringing in better targets, and showing him that he's the guy should give everyone hope that he's in for a big sophomore year. If he doesn't take that next step, though, he's not the guy. Because they are giving him the best possible opportunity to show that he is in 2023. Something suggests that he is going to take full advantage of it though.